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Horizons in World Physics. Volume 295
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BACTERIAL VECTORS IN DINOFLAGELLATE CIGUATOXIN PRODUCTION $100.00
Authors:  Jasmine Seda Miro and Nadathur S. Govind
Abstract:
Microalgae, such as dinoflagellates, contribute significantly to the production of biomass
and organic compounds in the ocean. They are also well-known for their harmful blooms
forming the familiar red and brown tide phenomena. Some species are recognized for
their ability to produce toxic secondary metabolites capable of passing through the food
chain from fish to humans and have been implicated in ciguatera poisoning. Associated
bacterial flora have been implicated in the modulation of dinoflagellate growth and toxin
production, but this interaction is not well understood. One of the major difficulties in
identifying these bacteria responsible is due to a lack of methods for the identification of
persistent bacterial associations in the ocean. Additionally, most bacteria are viable but
not culturable (VBNC), making the task even more daunting. A persistent association can
be defined as a bacterial species that is always found associated with a particular species
of alga both in different geographical regions and through time (e.g. symbiosis).
Utilizing this premise as a starting point one can now analyze bacterial flora associated
with toxic dinoflagellates utilizing culture independent techniques in different areas as
well as during different time periods to identify such bacterial vectors that can modulate
toxin production. This commentary will evaluate this approach utilizing the dinoflagellate
Ostreopsis lenticularis, a tropical benthic dinflagellate (known to produce Ciguatoxin) as
an example. The strategy presented here can be used as a general method for the
identification of persistent associations not only in phytoplankton but also invertebrates
in the ocean that are known to produce biomedically important natural products. 


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